There’s one more topic to touch on before this chapter is finished. SEO is about manipulating search engines — to an extent. Beyond that, the manipulation becomes something more sinister and you run the risk of having your web site removed from the search engine rankings completely.
It’s true. It happens. What exactly can and can’t you do? There’s a list, and here is part of it.
You can:
■ Create a web site that contains meta tags, content, graphics, and keywords that help
improve your site ranking.
■ Use keywords liberally on your site, so long as they are used in the correct context of your
site topic and content.
■ Include reciprocal links to your site from others as long as those links are legitimate and
relevant.

Encourage web site traffic through many venues, including keyword advertising,
reciprocal links, and marketing campaigns.
■ Submit your web site to search engines manually, rather than wait for them to pick up
your site in the natural course of cataloging web sites.
You can’t:
■ Trick search engines by imbedding hidden keywords in your web site. This is a practice
that will very likely get you banned from most search engines.
■ Artificially generate links to your site from unrelated sites for the purpose of increasing
your ranking based on link analysis. Most search engines have a built-in mechanism that
detects this type of deceptive practice.
■ Artificially generate traffic to your web site so that it appears more popular than it is.
Again, there are safeguards in place to prevent this from happening; and if you trip those
safeguards, you could end up on the banned list for many search engines.
■ Force your web site to appear in search engine rankings by submitting the site repeatedly
for inclusion in the rankings. A good general rule of thumb is that you should submit your
site once and then wait at least six weeks before submitting it again. Submitting it repeatedly
will, again, only lead to something nasty like being banned from the search engine.
■ Expect search engines to automatically rank you at the top of your topic, category, or keyword
as soon as the site is picked up. It can take a little time to build the status that you
need to reach a high search engine ranking. Remember, SEO is a process.
These are just basic rules for putting search engines to work for you. There are many more,
which you will discover in the coming articles. As you get started, however, keep these in
mind because you’ll see them repeatedly throughout the course and any other
research that you might be doing on search engine optimization.